Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Meme That Must Die

As Nate Silver points out HERE, the "pundit class" in America truly has no new ideas and is intellectually bankrupting itself. How about this, idiots? "Barack Obama is... Barack Obama, a politician with some unique traits who can also be utterly conventional." He will chart his own legacy (good or bad) in his time.

Still, one of the memes he cites is "He's the new Carter!!!" I always thought it was nonsensical, but it remains a powerful meme on the right. Just two problems.

1. You can make that argument as often and as loudly as you'd like. Fine by me, though I disagree with it. What you CANNOT do is then argue, as many righties have, that he's a "ruthless, Chicago pol." who will throw anyone "under the bus," ala Charles Krauthammer. Sorry folks, but in this case, the two descriptions ARE mutually exclusive, at least at the degrees you on the right have taken them.

See, one CANNOT simultaneously be a "weak, naive twit," like Carter, and a "cynical, calculating pol." Doesn't work. One or the other folks.

2. To the substance of the question, Ryan Lizza's piece in the New Yorker (what about the cartoon????!! Move on, already) paints a pretty balanced picture of someone perfectly comfortable with working in the system as is. He may not like it (or maybe he does), but he's not naive about it. The profile might upset some starry-eyed supporters, but it is balanced and shows he's most concerned with results, purity or not.

On foreign policy, Eli Lake gives the meme a nice smackdown. Unfortunately, we get another "comparison" (to Reagan!) in return, but clearly, Jimmy Carter he is not.

Finally, Obama's foreign policy speech today is not one of a clueless twit. As Andrew suggests, Bush 41-esque.

No comments: